Wafaa Bilal is an Iraqi-born artist who gained his fame for creating art with a focus on international politics and their dynamics. Much of his work is influenced by the fact that he fled his homeland in hopes of finding a better life for himself. Many of his works can be found in installments at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography and more throughout the United States and the world. Additionally, Bilal has even turned his own body into a canvas by having his back tattooed to represent the casualties of both Iraqi and American soldiers and civilians as well as having a camera surgically installed to document his daily life.
His work consistently evokes feelings of astonishment, fear and disappoint in our society for lack of knowledge and understanding of other cultures. One of my favorite pieces of his was the Iraq-Iran neon sign. This was done to show how quickly Western cultures, make assumptions about other cultures and how quickly they use these two distinct names interchangeably. The other two images are both heartbreaking and fascinating. In his Ashes Series, he took a series of photographs in what was once Saddam Hussein’s palace, but is now destroyed. However, it was interesting to see what structural components and furniture remain.